A friend of mine recently sent me a link to this site - 50 Rules for Dads of Daughters. It had the basics in there - love her mother and treat her well because she'll grow up and likely fall in love with someone who treats her how her mother was treated, always be there for her (quality time doesn't happen without quantity time), and be her hero. But it also had a few in there that I never thought of - either because of their simplicity or their creativity.
Here are some of my favorites:
10. Enjoy the wonder of bath time. I actually already do enjoy bath time with Alli, and I miss it when we have to skip a nightly bath for one reason or another. It seems like just yesterday we were propping her up in her whale tub and she would barely splash around... now the whale tub is in the attic because she's crawling around the tub and pulling herself up on the faucet.
15. Dance with her. Start when she's a little girl or even when she's a baby. Don't wait 'till her wedding day. 'Nuff said.
25. Letting her ride on your shoulders is pure magic. Do it now while you have a strong back and she's still tiny. I couldn't wait until the first time I could put Alli on my shoulders and walk her around. Even though I still have to hold her up (which can be a pain), I know she loves every second of it. I recall riding on my father's six-foot shoulders when I was very young, and there was nothing cooler than being that high up. Even though I'm not as tall, I'm sure Alli enjoys it just the same.
28. She will eagerly await your return home from work in the evenings. Don't be late. Nothing makes me smile more than when I walk in the door and Alli spots me from across the living room. She smiles that big toothy grin and turbo-crawls over to me, then immediately pulls up on my pant leg and reaches up for me to pick her up. Makes my heart melt every time.
39. Holding her upside down by the legs while she giggles and screams uncontrollably is great for your biceps. WARNING: She has no concept of muscle fatigue. I've already started tossing her up in the air and catching her as she falls, but I can't wait to really be able to swing her around a bit. I count to three and toss her up, just enough so she leaves my grasp and feels that freedom of not having anyone hold you for a split second, then grab her again on her way back down. She can't control the giggles, even when it means having the hiccups in five minutes.
44. Write her a handwritten letter every year on her birthday. Give them to her when she goes off to college, becomes a mother herself, or when you think she needs them the most. This one was probably my favorite, and Mommy B and I are kind of already doing that with this blog. However, I think it would be a really cool tradition to sit down each year on her birthday and write her a letter. I'll tell her about the things she's learned in that year's time, and what I've learned myself. Might be something pretty cool for both of us to look back on years down the line.
And of course, the runaway winner for tugging on the heart strings:
50. Today she's walking down the driveway to get on the school bus. Tomorrow she's going off to college. Don't blink. My eyes well up just thinking about this one. She's already growing up so fast, and I know there's no stopping it... or even slowing it down. She's learning at an incredible rate, and I'm more amazed by it every day.
Think about it... there is no other animal on the planet that takes so long to nurture, to teach, to protect. Most other animals are considered "adults" within the first couple years of their lives. Not humans - we take time to develop, to learn, to grow. It is this exorbitant amount of time parents spend with their child that forms the strong bond between them. Even though Alli is less than a year old, she has learned and grown so much. And I know the bond between us grows stronger every day.